When people say mean things about us or with intent to hurt us, at the moment it can be hard to see the root of the issue. We internalize it and make it personal, perhaps feeling hurt, angry, attacked, stunned among other emotions that immediately start coursing through us.
We go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. Most of us have experienced this sensation at some point or another and it's good to understand that this is the feeling people with PTSD have ALL THE TIME! People with PTSD or C-PTSD are constantly in a fight, flight, or freeze mode which is why it is usually misunderstood, difficult to treat and some sufferers spend a lifetime just trying to cope.
When we internalize the mean things people can say to us or about us, it's hard for us to take a step back and look at it from a 3rd person perspective. Most times we leave feeling wounded and it continues to brew and can get distorted or exaggerated. I'm not demeaning those feelings at all, but the more we hang onto them, the more they start to take shape and cling to us like bad perfume. We close off, build up walls thinking if we do that, surely we can protect ourselves from it ever happening again.
I try to look at everything from a place of love. It's not easy at the moment and I often have to walk away and sit with it for a while before I can get myself there. Sometimes you have to dig really deep because instinctively you want to fight back. Our knee-jerk reaction is to hurt them back; an eye for an eye mentality.
So, when these moments arise, I now remove myself from the situation and I get silent and reflective. I sit with the incident and focus on the who, what, when, where, and why. In doing so, I can often figure out what sparked the incident. I obviously am not a mind-reader, but I can try to put myself in the other person's shoes for a moment to try and understand from where this outburst came.
This by no means is perfect, but it is a way for me to handle confrontations. They used to send me into a tailspin and would render me non-functioning for weeks. The vortex of emotion trapped inside me would lead to excessive crying, self-hate, and the desire to disappear. Again, this is what happens when you're dealing with PTSD. It was like being in quicksand. The harder you struggled to get out of the quagmire, the deeper in it pulled you.
I had to start getting clear on how to handle these situations otherwise the possibility of taking my own life was prevalent. This is something that everyone needs to take into consideration. Our words have power. We think they're just words, but they can scar way bigger and way deeper than any physical wound. They can plague us like a disease and keep festering.
Think before you speak and always speak with intention. Own what you say. If you feel the need to degrade, insult, scream, and yell at someone, then you need to be ready to take on the responsibility of what those actions entail. It seems extreme, but even if it entails someone taking their own life. Nobody wants to talk about it, but the reality is such that your words or actions could be the last straw for someone and the deciding factor in them deciding that they can no longer continue fighting the battle. They will lay down their sword conceiting to the loss and end their own suffering.
I'm tired of hearing people say things like,
"I didn't mean to insult them."
"It's not my fault they're too sensitive and take everything personally!"
"They should have known that's not what I meant."
These are all ways we scoff our responsibility to own our words. We make it their fault thinking they should just toughen up. They should get thicker skin. They should go to therapy and get help, this latter comment spiking the anger deep down inside me because it is usually unknown whether or not someone is already in therapy dealing with all those things.
I've had people who know of my traumas and me having C-PTSD that have said things like,
"You need help, Deva. You need more therapy."
This was in response to them not liking me calling them out on their shit and for the first time standing up for myself from their gaslighting. To throw this in my face was a stunner and what made me realize that this person was never really a true friend. Her behavior and words were what triggered me in the first place and then for her to turn it around and make it my problem is textbook gaslighting.
So all that being said, when someone hurls insults at you or is downright mean, remember that it is often them projecting their own issues onto you or processing their own problems. It's easier to blame someone else than face ourselves and deal with it. Stay strong in who you are and what you offer to the world. When you can stay in integrity and realize that you don't need to feel like you have one up on someone else, you can walk away with your head held high. Send those people light and love,
in the hopes that they are able to come to the same realization and work towards healing and bettering themselves. We are all a work in progress. Let's start acknowledging that and cheering each other on in those journeys rather than tear each other apart.